Stop me if you've heard this one before: a perfectly ordinary summer heat wave strikes across the U.S. and millions of people are without power at the worst possible time. It's something of an annual ritual at this point.
Americans sure are "frustrated" at the thought of experiencing triple-digit temperatures without basic modern conveniences like ceiling fans and air conditioning* but as usual they do not appear to connect the dots. The fundamental problem is that like so much of our infrastructure, the American power grid belongs in decrepit. We have first world prices and a third world grid. The outdated fossil fuel power generating stations look downright modern compared to the transmission system. So Americans – Woo! We're #1! U-S-A! U-S-A! – get to enjoy brown- and blackouts during the height of summer. You know, blackouts; like they have in Uzbekistan and Angola. But I'm sure there's nothing wrong with our grid – the power must be out because the lazy union linemen aren't fixing it. What's beige and sleeps four? The ComEd truck, amirite people? Ha!
I never had high hopes for the current President, but there was some talk during the 2008 election and transitional period about a "New New Deal" type stimulus in which billions would be devoted to the long overdue overhaul of our nation's crumbling infrastructure. It never fails to amaze me how easily most Americans can reconcile our wealth and self appointed greatest-country-ever status with the overall shabbiness of so much of their surroundings – the collapsing bridges, the antique power grid, the slowest-in-the-Western-world broadband internet infrastructure, the 19th Century rail system, the two generations old cellular network, the old (and increasingly privatized) water supply, and so on. Of course it didn't happen. As usual, the only thing we managed to do is fix and repave some highways. And we don't even do a very good job of that.
A summer power outage is neither unprecedented nor unexpected, but it is a very visible reminder of the way that our country as a whole is starting to reflect the saddest aspects of its crumbling cities – the sense that this place was shiny and new in the 1940s and 1950s and it has been all downhill since then. We used to be able to handle ideas like massive government projects (rural electrification, the Interstate Highway System, etc.) to improve our standard of living. Now we sit around waiting for Private Sector Santa to save us; he never quite gets around to it. The idea that we could publicly employ millions of people to make the country less like your grandmother's 100 year old house – the hoarder, not the sweet one with all the doilies – simply doesn't fly before. Even if one rejects Keynesian economics, you'd think there would be some appeal to the idea of not living in a shit hole.
I underestimate our capacity for self-loathing sometimes. Let's start a pool for the first internet hack to call this "Obama's Blackout", with bonus points for naming the first to make it explicitly racist.
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*How is Willis Carrier's birthday not a state holiday in the former Confederacy and the Southwest?
58 thoughts on “VALUE”
Talk about hitting a nail on the head.
" It never fails to amaze me how easily most Americans can reconcile our wealth and self appointed greatest-country-ever status with the overall shabbiness of so much of their surroundings"
Uh, this one's pretty easy Ed. Most Americans have no IDEA what CANADA looks like, much less Sweden. It's easy to be #1 in the world when your sample size is 1.
Plenty of Americans believe that their health care system is the envy of the world and that there's a thriving traffic in Canadians who come here to get treated because their hellish socialized system has them waiting six months to get their compound fractured leg x-rayed.
I'm convinced that conservatives believe in an "infrastructure fairy" that would come along and take care of everything if we would just be good enough capitalists.
It really is surprising how fast we get used to things. To the average American it seems perfectly normal to drive on 60-year-old roads filled with potholes, get their electricity from a 60-year-old coal plant, and their water from a 100-year-old water main.
Obama's blackout is so 2011.
I have no words for my country.
At the height of 'We hate Bush' I was in Denmark.
Jesus Ed, nicely done. HoosierPoli, perfectly said. If you've never experienced the general cleanliness and efficiency of much of western Europe or seen Tokyo you might just be convinced that America is the land of all things awesome. The number of Americans without passports will continue to allow people to sell the exceptionalism argument will continue to sell like hotcakes.
Taking Hoosier's point, for the same reason the Packers can be "World Champions", in a comp against no other nation. At least baseball and hockey compete against Canada.
30 years ago my aunt—in Australia—was on a gas generator for house electricity whilst down in the village you could see lights on from those hooked up to the mains. 10yrs after that she was hooked up to the mains. Her reason for taking so long was that her husband wanted to stay off the grid and put in their own hydro-generator, an idea that never happened.
Hell even rural Australia has a concept of hooking people up to infrastructure. One of the biggest political footballs at the moment is the National Broadband Network (NBN). This is a nation that has serious issues with GAFA (Great Areas of F. All), and it's building a fibre network.
Though there are many free marketers who say the free market fairy will come and save us, and that its a wast of money. My question for them and none has ever answered it is, "Then why hasn't a private company built such a network?"
Of course the answer is, "There's no money in it."
Major Kong says:
I was amazed the first time I went to Sweden. I was expecting this grim, Stalinist hell-hole of grey Soviet-style apartment blocks.
To say I was surprised would be an understatement.
J. Dryden says:
It is far easier to simply state that one's country is the greatest, than it is to contribute to that greatness. "America is to be celebrated because it is America, and therefore great" is the mantra of a people for whom the reward has exceeded the work in our reason to do what we do. (I'm not preaching Marxism, here, just good old Protestant Work Ethic–you know, the kind that ages men 10 years for every two they spend at their jobs. There's no rosy glow to a nation that's actually swinging a hammer and soldering I-beams, mostly just a lot of weekend alcoholism.) Yet our lives are killing us anyway, the slow slide of self-medication of food and plastic consumption, but with nothing to show for it along the lines of the Hoover Dam or the Chrysler Building.
It's not any one person's fault. Corporations have to maximize profits, which means union-busting and overseas manufacturing. Republicans won't allow public works. Democrats are too nutless to get them made anyway. Workers are so terrified at losing their jobs/pensions, and so benumbed by the indifference of the companies they work for, that they just want to keep their heads down and make it to the 401K finish line. And above it all flash hi-res images of the glittery stuff we're told we deserve, salary and credit rating be damned. So who's got the time or the focus to give a shit about bridges and power grids? Easier to just wait for them to crash and then–something we've gotten *really* good at of late–blame the other guy.
We've been coasting ever since Reagan told us that the hard work was over, that we'd made it to the promised land (oh, sorry, "Shining City on a Hill"), and that we didn't need to do anything to merit self-adulation, because we were Americans, goddammit, and who's gonna tell us we're not the greatest? But I don't even blame Reagan–he simply reinforced what we'd already told ourselves. The era of government from FDR to Johnson is dead, and no one's bringing it back.
We're the Norma Desmond of nations, locked away in our crumbling mansion and pretending that our former glory isn't former, that we're still as beloved and admired as ever, and that Mr. DeMille is always just outside the door, ready to give us our close-up, because we're the star, do you hear us, we're the goddamned star.
Well, now I'm depressed. But I do kind of feel like going back and watching SUNSET BLVD. again, and the DVD's just waiting for me, so that's something. (Of course, I bought it with an overmaxed credit card. Yeah, I'm just as bad as everyone else.)
Confederate Patriot says:
"How is Willis Carrier's birthday not a state holiday in the former Confederacy and the Southwest?"
Because he was a damn Yankee from New York!
Also, GO GATORS.
Of course they will miss the elephant in the living room, i.e. that this state of affairs has continued despite rampant privatization which is supposed to be more efficient and fulfilling human needs.
As for naming the first hack, I'll go ahead and call Glenn Beck.
All Ed's points are on target except that the current blackout affecting much of Virginia, West Virginia, D.C. etc. is a result of a destructive thunderstorm knocking trees against power lines, etc., not a result of an antiquated power grid. Have I been snookered by misleading news reports?
I don't think upgrading our power grid would have averted that calamity.
Relatives of mine lost their house and everything in it last March when a gas line leaked into their house and the gas ignited. Their daughter either smelled the gas, saw smoke or both (I've not bothered to get clarification on that part) and yanked her parents out of bed at 2:30 in the morning. They hightailed it out of there moments before the house itself actually exploded, and all they had was their lives and the pajamas they were wearing. The video footage was taken by somebody who lives in the building across the street; part two can be seen here.
c u n d gulag says:
The terrible cancer eating away at this once great nation has been privatization – or, 'crony privatization.'
Before, the public's tax money, once collected, was doled back out. Some of it on the national level, some state-wide, some district-wide, some local.
The money was mostly reapportioned back to the public – for schools, post offices, roads, bridges, train tracks and stations, airports, power grids, communication, water management, infrastructure building and maintenance, etc.
And a civil service to oversee all of that.
In that system, people, aka, "politicians" were held accountable – and so were the civil servants.
And no, it wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
Now, in the push to privatize, that means that people still vote for politicians and still pay their taxes – but everything else has changed.
Instead of the politicians and civil servants overseeing public works, the politicians give contracts to their cronies.
Implicit in those deals, are money to keep the politian(s) responsible for the deal(s) to be reelected for as long as they want, and then jobs in the companies when they either decide to leave, or get voted out of office.
And there's not much need for civil servants – the companies have their own bean-counters.
The companies take that tax money, and do as little as possible, to maximize the most profits for their owners, shareholders, and executives.
And THAT is the problem.
And it is getting worse. Much worse!
This privatization cancer is ready to metastasize.
We are getting ready to completely hand over the education of our children to unaccountable education and Jesus grifters – with politicians providing cover for them, rather than holding them accountable.
Read about LA's, and Bobby Jindal's, attempts to make that state the laboratory for privatized education:
Read that, and weep.
Because, that cancer is spreading fast – and coming to your neighborhoods. Among others.
We're not far from being a Theocratic Fascist Idiocracy.
Maybe one or two elections away.
Have a happy 4th of July, everyone!
And remember – many of the people celebrating this national holiday the most, are also the ones who want to do the most damage to this nation:
"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel."
>."How is Willis Carrier's birthday not a state holiday in the former Confederacy and the Southwest?"
Because he was a damn Yankee from New York!>>
I've lived in the south for 25 years now, and it still stuns me how irrationally many southerns hate everything. Geeze, Louise, they still think the Civil War is going on…and the south is winning.
Number Three says:
Along with anotherbozo, I would add that, in addition to the freakish "derecho" thunder-hurricane, this is not an "ordinary" heat wave. I've lived in DC awhile, and this long a stretch of 100 or almost 100 degree days is not "ordinary". It's not ordinary that Nashville, TN, set its all-time heat record last week, or that any number of places did, as well.
Unless this is the new normal–until it gets even hotter!
I've actually come to view these disaster events as the only opportunity we have to actually build new infrastructure. No one was going to replace the power lines that el derecho knocked down–but now they have no choice.
"All Ed's points are on target except that the current blackout affecting much of Virginia, West Virginia, D.C. etc. is a result of a destructive thunderstorm knocking trees against power lines, etc., not a result of an antiquated power grid. Have I been snookered by misleading news reports?"
If we had a really modern power grid, most urban and suburban power lines would be underground and unaffected by storms. We do do this with most new developments, but retrofitting older areas costs money and we haven't spent it.
A/C ruined the south.
Major Kong says:
This year in Ohio we've had 80+ degree weeks in March, 100 degree weeks in July and now a "land hurricane".
I think we broke the planet.
In regards to the DC/VA power outages:
@ Number Three: I dunno, man, it doesn't seem THAT much worse than usual. We usually see long stretches of high-90s throughout July, falling to a balmy low 90s overnight. I think the sun is just trying for extra credit this year.
It's worth remembering that after Snowmageddon, all the local private-sector utility monopolies (BG&E, PepCo, Dominion Power) were called on the carpet by the press and local politicians for their failure to get things running again quickly. They all super-swore to make all kinds of improvements to their systems, everyone high-fived them, and they went and hid again. Now here we are a couple years later, and it is evident they've done nothing to correct the problems: unburied power lines, unshielded and antiquated transmission stations, etc.
Ed and others above me here have done an excellent job already pointing out that we have a shitty power grid because a private-sector utility company has no incentive to improve it.
I think this entire example is worth remembering the next time you have an argument with someone about whether privatization is a "good thing".
"Good for whom?" we might ask. "Good for the public, and the customers? Or only good for the shareholders and the investors?"
TomW is right. In Germany, for example, almost all of the low- and medium-voltage power lines are buried underground. As a result, their power grid averages 21 minutes of outages per year. (Source: http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/02/opinion/frum-buried-lines/index.html?hpt=op_t1)
In contrast, the states with the most reliable power grids (Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas) average 92 minutes per year, while the states with the least reliable grids (New York Pennsylvania and New Jersey) average 214 minutes per year (these figures are a few years old). (Source: http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/innovation/08/09/smart.grid/index.html)
Part of the problem is that it's expensive to bury the lines underground (somewhere between $500k and $1M), and to bury all of them would be much more expensive here than in Europe, given how much sprawl we have. (Source: link 1)
*Between $500k and $1M per mile, which is 5-10x the cost of overhead lines.
Also, an even starker contrast: the average outage per year for Japan's grid is a mere 4 minutes.
I think it's a great time for another "In Defense of Global Warming" thinkpiece from Slate or Reason.
Leading Edge Boomer says:
You mean "ConEd"?
The thing about burying lines is, some places won't do it even if it's basically free! In the town I just moved from, they had torn up a half-mile of a semi-major residential street because they needed to update the sewers (which were close to a century old). The whole street was ripped up, more than half its width, for the length of this project. It was proposed that they bury the power lines that ran along this street as part of the project, since that would protect the lines, allow them to stop mutilating the trees, and decrease power outages, and the big cost (tearing up and then repaving the street) was already being paid for the sewer project anyway.
They decided not to, because they were worried that they might need access to the lines at some unspecified point in the future for some unspecified reason. What a waste.
Xecky Gilchrist says:
I never had high hopes for the current President […] Let's start a pool for the first internet hack to call this "Obama's Blackout"
You mean the second?
Kind of in the same vein, the heatwave has caused sections of Highway 29 in Wisconsin to buckle, forcing the state to send repair crews scrambling. This is a highway that was finished in 2005, so it's really only lasted 7 years without major problems.
When we do invest in infrastructure, we put the same amount of thought into it as someone buying paper plates for a BBQ; "We only need to be able to drive on it, we don't need anything fancy."
mel in oregon says:
the only critique i would give ed is i never had any hopes for obama; nada. our country is fully corporitized similiar to italy in the 1930s, we just don't have a dictator. but citizens have no say in anything, & the government is controlled by giant corporations. the reason infrastrucure is so putrid is corporations don't give a shit about it, they don't have to use it. the only thing occupy got wrong is, it isn't 99% for good things, it's probably less than 50%. as long as we have such a stupid citizenry, other countries look at us & think, "well at least we aren't americans." interesting that the head of the physics department at princeton said he couldn't keep his post docs, they are all going back to china. reason: more opportunity. not just the well educated, there is a great mass of unskilled labor going back to china as well. the only reason there isn't a mass exodus of mexicans is that the mexican economy is the worst by far in latin america.
Middle Seaman says:
It's impossible to go to bed early; you get to Nasty Ed, I like nasty bloggers, after 30 commenters dropped in mostly smartly. So in short:
As is BC and AD, we should have BR and AR for before Reagan and after Reagan. Since AR, socialists for the rich posed as capitalists and grabbed all resources from the people and gave it to the rich. Forget infrastructure, education, health care and next will come food.
Most people are overworked and underpaid and cannot afford to go to Sweden or even Canada for that matter. Our media is AR and fights the unions and does its best not to inform readers about the rest of the world unless we have a war there or it helps incite hate.
Consider yourself fortunate to be able to go places and read widely. It isn't common.
@Leading Edge Boomer:
It's ComEd in Chicago…….Commonwealth Edison.
Friday's windstorm was way beyond normal, that said power lines seriously need to be buried and that would have made things less severe.
The President missed a golden opportunity with the stimulus to fix infrastructure. Every last dime and then some, of the stimulus needed to be plowed into infrastructure. It would have fixed the short term jobs issue as well as the long term economy by getting the country ready to handle better times.
mel in oregon says:
great post middle seaman! and very true, half the people in the world go to bed hungry every night & would kill to have as much luxury as even a moderate american has.
bb in GA says:
@mel and ms
I have been down this road here before.
Expect incoming and you will have your asses handed to you (unless there is a double standard for liberals)
half the people in the world go to bed hungry every night & would kill to have as much luxury as even a moderate american has.
That's not the point. The point is that we are always being told by Repugs that we have the greatest nation in the world, look how much better we have it than even other developed countries, blah, blah, blah, when this is BULLSHIT. We DON'T have an infrastructure on par with other developed nations, which is what Ed was saying. We should be able to afford to update our infrastructure. That's all. We are supposed to be living in the richest country in the world, after all. Oh, and by the way, people go to bed hungry right here in the old USofA–and would kill to have as much luxury as even a moderate American has.
And we don't celebrate Carrier in the SW so much–we use the old evap cooler method. Easier on the grid (but not the water supply…).
One of the problems, a huge one imo, is that we undervalue hard work and overvalue our own time. I can't tell you how many things just don't get done where I work because everyone available is ranked too high to make it "worth" our time (and we can't hire a lower-paid temp for it either).
Recently, I cracked and went through the work of organizing all of the random IT crap my group has on hand. I finally learned what we had (and therefore could do my job better), we found things we didn't know we had, and got rid of more monitor cords than I care to count. However, had my boss not been on leave, and my manager not been on vacation when I did the most work, I would have been told to do something else. Everyone loves that we're organized now, but they have no idea that it doesn't just magically happen.
Well our private agricultural infrastructure is top notch, thanks to years of pork barreling omnibus farm bills. It looked like we were close to making some progress on farm subsidies, but now it appears that the house will claw back all the gains that were made in the senate version.
Major Kong says:
While technically true, that's the kind of argument that gets trotted out anytime a liberal complains about poverty or the decline of the middle class in the US "Hey! You're better off than a starving Somali peasant! Shut up and quit complaining!"
Funny how I'm not allowed to say to a Tea Partier "Hey! Your taxes are lower than Sweden! Quit complaining!" or "Hey! We've got less government than the Soviet Union did. Quit complaining!"
It's always heads I win, tails you lose in rightwingworld.
The incentive to improve it comes when one sues the utility company, as in the case of my relatives losing their house and everything they accumulated in 40+ years of marriage when they had an explosion and a fire after a gas leak in their house (see my previous post above for more information; it was in moderation for a bit this morning). Litigation, of course, happens after the fact, though, and a bit too late to do my relatives a whole lot of good.
In other news, have y'all heard that the conservative wonderkid Jonathan Krohn has renounced conservatism? He's 17 now, says he's for gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act, and will be starting college at New York University.
See, there is hope.
bb in GA says:
…shouldn't have paid much attention to him when he was 13 and precious little now that he is 17.
One of the reasons he recanted was social. He was tired of liberal kids in his environment calling him things like 'douchebag"
I could make a point here about liberal tolerance here, but that wouldn't be fair 'cause it was just stupid kids mistreating the 'other' in their midst…
BB, please don't tell lies; the 17-year-old did NOT wake up and smell the coffee because he was surrounded by liberal and peer-pressured into it. Despite being raised in an echo-chamber of right-wingnuttia, he grew up and realized the lies he'd been taught to parrot were simply untrue. To quote his own words: "
Sorry, for some reason the quote wouldn't go through after the quote marks. Trying again with citation at the end so anyone interested can read for themselves:
I think it was naive, Krohn now says of the speech. It’s a 13-year-old kid saying stuff that he had heard for a long time.… I live in Georgia.
We’re inundated with conservative talk in Georgia.… The speech was something that a 13-year-old does. You haven’t formed all your opinions. You’re really defeating yourself if you think you have all of your ideas in your head when you were 12 or 13. It’s impossible. You haven’t done enough.
Krohn won’t go so far as to say he’s liberal, in part because his move away from conservatism was a move away from ideological boxes in general.
I want to be Jonathan Krohn," he said, "and I’m tired of being an ideology, and it’s not fun and it gets boring and it’s not who we are as individuals.
Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2012/07/once-a-conservative-idol-17-year-old-now-rejects-being-an-ideology.html#ixzz1zfApBSIF
He said nothing of the kind. Which you would know if you'd bothered to read the article. Oh, wait, I forgot. You can't read.
bb in GA says:
Not all info about Mr. Krohn's history is in the article….
From an Ed copycat a few years ago:
March 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm
This is awesome, however one huge oversite. How douchebag 13 year old Jonathan Krohn is not in the Politics bracket is an atrocity."
I caught a snippet on the radio that Krohn allowed that his social situation and the vile name calling was a factor.
Ironically, the Right has now leveled the same invective…
"The Daily Caller led the charge. Gregg Re started things offwith a profanity-filled screed from a spurned conservative who attended Krohn’s big CPAC speech in 2009 and apparently demanded anonymity to tell Re the 17-year-old was a “douche.”
Hope you had a day off and it was a nice one.
the same ole BS by the Right, nothing changes until the American Zombies admit (such a concept) its' error of ways by following BLINDY the lies of Conservatism, you know, thinking about the consequences of focking over those less than you. Free Markets, Government is inherently evil, Society steals from YOU!. that general "me vs you" divide, of "getting over", Greed. and all that BS. so standard, so trite, so true.
waiting for the volley to dismiss, denigrate, deny and then detour any attempt at conversation, and then, voila magically appeared.
Gee, American never see Canada or Mexicon on their new, sports or weather Station, unless you live near the border.not in small markets, so HOW would American know,period.
the stupid south, ignorance pays well. use the same "Southern" strategy on the rest of America, and voila, Reagan style America, devoid of thought.
American Idol and Super Bowl games as diversion.
hard to believe so many Americans still buy the Reagan BS and all that propaganda. only something like 48million poor and hungry, in America. Guess that's not worth mentioning with all our American Hero stories. Have to go to the Pew Foundations for "Unbiased/non Foxxed/unslanted" information.
oh yes we are severely screwed by years of theft and blind adherence to a failed ideology. now the price is being paid. how Zombies don't get they are being the ones screwed really fascinates me. eventually they will. it will be far too late by then.
thanking the Rightwing for its' success of the Reagan Revolution/Free Markets/Crony Capitalism is quite a concept. maybe going John Galt may be the best retort.
I was just having a lie-down in the bedroom, watching blue skies and green trees out the window and listening to my husband snore gently. He's a baker, and had to be out early this morning; he's resting up for dinner and fireworks later. The temperature in our bedroom is 70 F.
Thank you to my ancestors who kept moving West until they ran out of continent (in the 1840s).
Also, to Ed's point – if you're a USAian and the only time you've been out of the country is visiting Mexico, well, your perspective is limited. I've been to Canada, the UK, France, Barbados and Curacao. In the latter two, the drinking water is perfectly safe and crime is low. There ARE ways to run a society/economy/culture that are not USA-standard and which still work.
I did see a nice post on FB recently – 'freedom isn't free, so stop whining and pay your taxes!'
Current Americans sometimes take the attitude of homeowners who bought a house that had been fixed up before they moved in, and then eat out and buy movies with the money they could be spending on keeping the plumbing and wiring up to date. Then, when the inevitable happens, they complain to high heaven about it.
You're alleging that Krohn is dropping conservative ideology because somebody on the Internet was OMG so MEEEEEN to him? Really? Sounds like your ideology doesn't have much of a leg to stand on.
Ah. That gives him less of a backbone than Sandra Fluke.
Not surprising. Have you seen the invective leveled at liberals by anonymous Randians on various message boards? You can look at any story on any subject on Yahoo! and the comments will inevitably devolve into some variation of how Obama is the Anti-Christ and liberals want to ruin the country. And considering the example set by the leading con pundits (Limbaugh, Coulter, et al) one can hardly be surprised at their stupidity.
bb in GA says:
@Sarah and Tracey
I apologize that I didn't do a better job of communicating.
I heard a radio clip, in passing, where the speaker allowed that ONE factor in Krohn's recantation was peer harassment.
Sarah – I shouldn't have shown the example of internet 'abuse' as it only confused things. And why would you take shots at a 13 – 17 year old boy (who is now kinda on your side) by comparing him unfavorably to an adult, political activist, female law student?
You live in GA
I live in GA
I present information that disagrees with your understanding of a situation
Therefore…I am liar
I understand your point about the atmosphere in GA and I also get the concept of 'Rush babies' children who were propagandized by their parents.
I have been guilty of that myself – I faithfully took my 3 children to church most every Sunday because I wanted them to be exposed to those messages.
However, do you have any Arbitron data on the Beck, Boortz, Rush, and Hannity share in the 13 – 17 male demo? :-)
I suspect kids in GA are more conservative than in some other parts of the USA, but they hardly slavishly pay attention to the talk radio politics. I submit to you the furious efforts of the Ds to get renewed interest in young voters to help 2012. Historically, young people are not interested (relative to us old farts in particular) in politics.
I'm pretty sure millions of Soviets thought for a long, long time during the twentieth century that they were the greatest country in the world and the rest of it, which they never really got to see, was a backwards cesspool of poverty and oppression…
So when Mitt becomes President, and outsources our crumbling infrastructure to someplace like Dubai or the UAR for pennies on the dollar and what is essentially a ginormous loan with a balloon payment. He'll be hailed a a flippin' financial genius. When the rich stop raising money for American politicians and start moving to their private islands, you'll know your country has gone to hell.
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